The environment that we live in and make use of is being stripped off its precious components day by day.
Abdalla and Jennifer L.
Lawton The evolution of animal agriculture in North America is focusing increased attention on its impacts on water and air quality. The adoption of new technologies and the restructuring of the food and agricultural system are generating new economic and environmental impacts and influencing public perception about animal agriculture.
The expansion of livestock and poultry production, particularly larger confined animal operations, is increasingly leading to private disputes and public issues concerning agricultural production and the environment. These disputes are leading to new patterns of costs and benefits and, in some cases, public policies that are affecting competitiveness of this sector.
The issues and options to Animal environmental problems them are complex Animal environmental problems require increased understanding and involvement by all stakeholders. While new technologies to improve environmental performance and monitor progress will be developed, constraints on resources may limit implementation.
Current Situation Livestock and poultry farms generate manure, bedding, milk-house wash water, spilled feed and dead animals that, if not properly managed, can impact water quality. Animal manure and related byproducts contain elements that, under certain circumstances, might reach surface or ground water and cause pollution.
The location of an animal operation plays a role in how pollutants may reach water and the magnitude of environmental damage. Animal production in grain deficient regions may generate manure nitrogen or manure phosphorus in excess of the assimilative ability of nearby land for manure application.
Air quality issues associated with confined animal operations are traditionally nuisance concerns, such as odors, but there is increasing focus on possible links between dust and other particulates, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide from animal operations and human health.
Concerns include the possible effects of ammonia and particulates on respiratory systems e. Only a relatively few studies e. There are scientific concerns about bioaerosols—tiny airborne particles that contain microorganisms or their byproducts—due to their potential for causing human and animal disease and microbial toxins.
Bioaerosols may be released into the air by such practices as land application of animal biosolids, livestock wastewater spray irrigation, livestock wastewater injection or animal pen scraping. Other sources of bioaerosols include exhausted air from livestock confinement buildings, high winds that carry bioaerosols from open livestock wastewater systems and dust blown from outdoor livestock pens.
Much more needs to be known about the possible connections between air emissions from animal operations and health of rural residents.
The results from scientific studies of these linkages are likely to drive future environmental policies for animal agriculture in the United States. In addition to direct emissions from cattle, the anaerobic decomposition of manure during storage produces methane, a greenhouse gas GHG. GHG emissions from farm animals have increased during the last decades due to the overall increase in the number of livestock and the relatively low rate of adoption of technology to reduce emissions.
Regional clusters form around economic advantages, such as climate, processors, transportation access and costs, infrastructure, and proximity to inputs.
In addition, industry marketing practices, such as contracting, have resulted in higher concentration of poultry and swine production in a few geographic areas Vukina, Where contracting has become prevalent, producers have been responsible for manure management and dead animal disposal since these activities are not typically covered by the contract Vukina, Uncertainty about Human Health Impacts: As in many other environmental and public health issues, technology for detecting contaminants in the environment outpaces our ability to understand the human health implications.
There are also emerging concerns over possible effects of endocrine disruptors, antibiotic resistance and air emissions from animal facilities. In the United States, the responsibility for protecting the environment from the effects of animal agriculture has been shared between government levels.
For example, in principal strong federal oversight has existed over permitting CAFOs under the federal Clean Water Act since the mid s. In practice, however, the federal leadership role has been slow in developing and unevenly applied across the United States.
It was also largely ineffective in dealing with emerging water quality problems from changes in animal industry structure and location in the last 20 years. To fill the void, some states and local governments have developed their own water and air laws. A patchwork of state policies and capacities for implementation now exist across the nation, resulting in difficulties for the industry in meeting differing rules, differences in the competitive economic environment of states, and an incentive to the industry to locate in states with less stringent environmental policies.
While recent proposals by the federal government have attempted to improve and update its approach, they have been delayed due to court cases. Available evidence indicates that Mexican environmental rules also suffer from implementation shortcomings. New and improved technologies have historically generated tools to mitigate environmental problems in the animal agriculture industry.Nutrient pollution in the water and air is often the direct result of a range of human activities including agriculture, stormwater and fossil fuel use.
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Industrial output and infrastructure were major areas of concern, and great strides were made, along with great sacrifices. The massive amounts of excrement produced by livestock farms emit toxic gases such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia into the air.
Roughly 80% of ammonia emissions in the U.S. come from animal .